First Week of Taper Roundup

Today is the first Friday of my two-week taper (That time when you back off of running, eat like you’re still putting down massive mileage, and get the super-grumps…all so you can be ‘rested’ and ‘fit’ for the start of the race) for the Derby and Flying Pig Marathons.  Which are the same weekend.  And yes, I’m running both. Because I’m stupid.

Derby was my intended April marathon, and the Pig, my hometown race, my May race.  I signed up back in November for both.  At the time, I had no idea they were the same weekend.  I just figured they’d be within the same week, at worst, and I would be challenging my rest/recovery skills (and putting my injury-prone self on the line) by doing marathons that close together.

Then in January or so, someone in the running group posted the question: “Hey, the Derby and the Pig are the same weekend, anyone on here doing both?”
Well shit.
I was.  And I hadn’t realized it.

Owning up to that miscalculation had me running thoughts through my mind on “how the hell am I going to pull this off?  I’m going to be so beat up.  How the hell does someone train for a thing like this?  Shit.  What do I eat??”
It also inspired about 7 other runners to join me.  One of those runners is doing the half at each race, but that’s still a pretty good challenge.  The rest of us?  We’re dumb enough to do both marathons – 52.4 miles…yeah…

I was actually interviewed by a local TV group on this challenge, and some other friends of mine were also interviewed for their running craziness.  One of our group, an actual journalist, did this nice write-up about it: Here.

So famous…. I’ll be signing autographs at boroth races… haha!

My running this week:

  

We finally have the SUN!  Have you heard of this thing!?  Seriously.  It’s pretty damn awesome.  Alas.  It also reminds me of my Irish, and I have to put sunscreen on to sit in a car….  I am not making that up.  Stoopid pale skin.  But still!  YAY SUN!  Please do not abandon us.

Well.  I rested pretty hard after that painful 20 miles on the treadmill.  Because to be good at running, you have to be good at resting too. ( I’m probably too good at resting, which is why I’m not all that good at running.  But I have heart!).  After taking 2 days recovery, I went out Wednesday for what was supposed to be an “easy run” of 6 miles.  Recovery running, if you will.  My first mile was pretty decent…faster than I felt like I was going.  I swear, it felt like I was trudging through sludge… the effort felt very difficult, and my GPS clicked me in at 8:49 for that mile.  I’ll take it… that’s pretty much my “normal” pace.  But it felt so difficult.  I figured I’d just back off.  So I …did?  I felt like I did… but then I just kept going and suddenly those mile splits the MapMYRun voice was calling at me were in the upper 8’s per mile… like, 8:06…. and then they were sub-8.  In the end, that 6 mile run was 45:47 minutes long.  A PR, honestly, for 6 miles…

Surely the 9 miles I had to run Thursday would be significantly slower.  Especially given the tightness in my calf.  Hellz no.  Mile 1 again was a “hard-feeling” 8:48 minutes.  Then, feeling like I was “easing off”, Mile 2 hit 8:09….and on from there…with two miles being 7:02 minutes.  This run wasn’t on flat or gentle terrain either.  I live in an area that is nothing but hills.  I can choose to start up hill or down hill, basically, from my door… but there’s going to be a hill.  In the end, I PR’d this 9 mile run in 1:07:47.  Seriously.

PRs in training…
Don’t give a fuck mentality when it comes to recognizing and accepting that my body just wants to be fast in that moment during training…
Yet race days seem to strip me of these things and leave me with nerves, jitters, “holding back” for later miles, and the worry that some seriously awful pooping need is going to strike at the worst time.
Does this happen to anyone else?

Flying Pig Organizers know what they’re doing…
and they bring beer to prove it.

 

Shouldn’t it be “will fly for beer”? Or will soar for beer”? Definitly not, “will squeal for beer”, though….
 

I cannot talk/write/exclaim enough about how the Flying Pig Marathon (FPM) is the best marathon I’ve ever experienced.  It hits all the important boxes:

  • Challenging course
  • Pretty sights- both urban and riverside
  • Flat parts for good speeds
  • Unbelievable crowd support
  • Above-par volunteers and volunteer support
  • Great aid stations – reasonably located – AMAZING groups working them
  • Multiple events, and contantly growing…
    And… the deal-closer:
  • A finish line you can hear from a mile away.
    Yes.
    The crowd is so loud, and they’re in an echo chamber and you can HEAR THEM at mile 25.2…  and it’s enough to power you into the fastest mile of the whole run!

Also.  This organization, the Flying Pig, goes out of the way to get the local runners hyped for weeks leading up to race day.

One of the events going into this race is put on by a local running store (Fleet Feet Sports) and a few other groups…it’s call the “20/12 run”.  A celebration and gigantic group run, comprised of all the local runners and running groups, doing the last long run before the race (20 miles or 12 miles, hence the name).  Although the FPM doesn’t specifically put this event on, they do still put their people and volunteers out on the route with an aid station, music, and people in costume.  During other runs, not so organized, its not uncommon to see the FPM people and costumes and signs along the course as nearly everyone trains for this race by running the exact route.  To me, this is a nice touch.  Do other marathons do this stuff?  I have no idea.  But ours does.  And ours is great.

 

My friend shared this photo from the 20/12 event with the caption: “really flying pig? setting up an aid station at Eli’s while they have the smoker going? Is this a test of will?”. (Eli’s is a great local bbq spot. try it sometime!). I wouldve stopped there….
 
Thursday night, after my 9 miles, a friend reminded me that another running store, (Tri-State Running Company) was hosting a Happy Hour, with the FPM group at a local place.  I headed out for the free beers (One bought by the FPM, the other bought by TriState) and the great company.  The weather was perfect for sitting outside and enjoying the company so many other runners.  I got to meet a girl who was new-to-running and knocking out 5ks all over the place, commenting that she “was so addicted”.  Ha, yes!  This is the best addiction to get!

  
I was able to swap stories of shared experiences with new friends who ran Asheville and other races, just not the same year I did.  And I was given a list of races to look up and add to my wish list.

Someone started an ugly rumor that I was going to do Pike’s Peak.  Look man, all I said was I was considering going to visit my friend who lives essentially at the base of Pikes Peak.  This is how shit gets started.  Shit.  I’m going to end up having to run this one because someone (you jerk) started this and got a bunch of random people (both my friends and some strangers) wound up about it.  I should’ve given him my second beer so I could have claimed he was just “talking drunk”.

Friday is Pain By Numbers Fun Run Day!

  

I needed to slow down, quite a lot, and actually do an easy run.  I’m coming to terms with the fact that I cannot be trusted on beautiful sunny days to keep myself reigned in to the paces I need to do.  I joined PBN for the run this morning, and my friend Jim took us on a whirlwind tour of the alleys of the City.  It’s always a blast running with these people.

We weaved through the City, avoiding cars (barely, in some cases) and sharing stories.  It’s nice to have this group to listen to while running.  Everyone has something going on…and you can learn a lot from them.  We’re all walks, you know?  Only a couple of us have the same line of work… and even then, we’re at two different ends of the spectrum of that work (retired vs half way there), so we all have so much to share with each other.  We’re all different ages.  We’re all different runners with different goals and different talents.

I cannot brag enough about these people.

  
And now, I think I’ve written enough.  I need to post more and more often so that these things don’t get so long… but then, I’d still find a way to make it long.  I enjoy telling the story…

Good luck all you readers, I have no doubt that each one of you has a race coming up really soon…it is, after all, the official open of race season.

   

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